Amelie is one of my favorite films for many reasons, and only some of them have to do with Audrey Tautou’s performance and appearance. The remaining reasons are due entirely to director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s incredible ability to mix powerful visuals, a wild imagination, and a beautiful narrative into one perfect film. He’s made other films of course, both very good (A Very Long Engagement) and mediocre (Micmacs), but while they vary in quality they never lack an appealing element of wonder. And now he has two new films possibly lined up for the near future.
Miller already mentioned half of the Jeunet news in last night’s Movie News After Dark when he reported that the French director’s next film may be based on the novel The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen. The story follows a young boy who fancies himself an amateur cartographer as he works his way across America on his way to the Smithsonian Museum. I’m not familiar with the novel, but a child’s head sounds like the perfect place for Jeunet to focus his next film within. If he takes the project on it will also mark his first return to an English language film since the fun but understandably maligned Alien Resurrection.
What Miller didn’t mention is that Jeunet is also eyeballing a second adaptation, and this is the one that interests me most. Thomas H. Cook writes mystery novels that delve into the scars of the past and how they haunt people in the present. His books are often emotionally devastating to say the least. Seriously, check out Mortal Memory and Instruments of Night if you have the chance. Jeunet is apparently also looking to adapt Cook’s relatively recent novel, Red Leaves. It’s the story of a troubled man whose teenage son may or may not have kidnapped a young girl. Everyone involved has secret pains to hide, and your heart will ache by the time you reach the delicate but painful conclusion. It’s a fantastic book, but it’s also as far from a typical Jeunet film as you can get. Which is precisely why I’m fascinated by the idea of it.